Gwenda Thomas, Deputy Minister for Social Services, Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Local Government and Government Business and Carl Sargeant, Minister for Housing and Regeneration
The recent announcement of the Welsh Government’s Draft Budget for 2014-15 included proposals to establish an Intermediate Care Fund. The Fund includes £35 million revenue which will be within the Local Government budget and £15 million capital funding in the Housing and Regeneration budget.
This Fund provides a real opportunity to build on effective working across health, social services and housing to improve the planning and provision of more integrated services. It must drive a step change in the way services work collaboratively at both a strategic and operational level.
The Fund will be used to encourage collaborative working between social services, health and housing, to support people to maintain their independence and remain in their own home. It will be used to avoid unnecessary hospital admissions, or inappropriate admission to residential care, as well as preventing delayed discharges from hospital.
This will involve improved care co-ordination across social services and health to support people to remain safely at home or in the community setting. It will also include identifying those people who, when admitted to hospital, are most at risk of becoming a delayed discharge and proactively managing their care and support needs, to ensure they are able to return home. For these people, it could also involve ensuring the provision of aids and adaptations to their home, to support them to maintain their independence.
For some people, who are not able to return home immediately, the funding could be used to provide ‘step down/convalescence’ beds. These beds would operate within a reablement culture and focus upon supporting older people back to independence and for them to return home, rather than to long-term residential care.
Local Authorities will lead on the development of proposals, working in partnership with health, housing and the Third and independent sectors. The expectation is that a wide range of partners, including the Third Sector, Registered Social Landlords and Care and Repair agencies will be involved in the delivery.
Proposals will be submitted on a regional collaborative footprint basis, to ensure change is driven at a strategic level and to improve the level of consistency and uniformity of outcomes. We recognise that needs vary within regions, so it will be for local authorities, with their partners, to determine the most appropriate model of delivery for them, to best meet the specific needs within their area. This will also enable them to build on existing models and established good practice.
Criteria will be developed against which Local Authorities and partners can draw up proposals and against which the proposals will be assessed. A baseline assessment will be commissioned with monitoring and evaluation built into the process to ensure we effectively measure the difference this funding makes.
Both revenue and capital streams of funding will be managed as a single co-ordinated fund, to maximise the support for people requiring intermediate care, through a coherent package of measures. Whilst proposals will be submitted at the regional collaborative footprint level, indicative allocations will be determined for each Local Authority area.
We will provide a further update to Members next month, with more detail on the funding allocation and criteria which will be used to approve proposals.